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Remaking Boethius: The English Language Translation Tradition of The Consolation of Philosophy

This volume is a reference work, organized chronologically in its sections, with a separate entry for each translator’s work. The sections are defined by the type of translations they comprise. The plan of the book is encyclopedic in nature: some biographical material is provided for each translator; the translations are described briefly, as are their linguistic peculiarities, their implied audiences, their links with other translations, and their general reception. Sample passages from the translations are provided, and where possible these samples are taken from two of the most well-known moments in the Consolatio: the appearance of Lady Philosophy, narrated by the Prisoner, and the cosmological hymn to the Deus of the work, sung by Lady Philosophy.

Where possible, an attempt also has been made to keep the general appearance of the original printed pages. Orthographic peculiarities (in spelling, capitalization, indentation, etc.) except for the elongated “s” have been maintained. Notes inserted by the translators or editors upon the passages transcribed in this volume are maintained as footnotes. These notes are included because they reveal much about the scholarship that the translators bring to their work of translating. The notes signal the translators’ familiarity with commentaries and earlier Consolatio translations, and they help to identify the types of audiences targeted by the translators (whether general or scholarly). The notes indicate points in the text (either grammatical or cultural) that translators or editors deemed needful of clarification for their readers, but the notes often also represent actual borrowings of notes, sometimes verbatim, from earlier translations. Such “borrowed notes” help to establish or verify lines of affiliation between the translations.

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Table of Contents

Prologue. The Foundation of the Tradition: The Latin De consolatione philosophiae
Part I. Complete Translations into English of De consolatione philosophiae
Part II. Partial or Abridged Translations into English of De consolatione philosophiae
Part III. Translations into English of the Meters or Selected Meters of De consolatione philosophiae
Part IV. Spurious, Mislabeled, or Lost Translations of De consolatione philosophiae
Part V. Modern English Translations of Old English Prose and Verse Translations of De consolatione philosophiae Attributed to King Alfred the Great
Part VI. An Early Adaptation of Chaucer’s Translation of  De consolatione philosophiae with Commentary Interspersed
Part VII. Some Minor Uses of Translations or Adaptations of Passages from De consolatione philosophiae
Part VIII. Two Early Discussions on De consolatione philosophiae Translation
Epilogue. Some Relevant Definitions: Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary

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